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US-China Relations

The First Confucius Institute in the U.S. Will Close

The University of Maryland announced that it will close its Confucius Institute when the 2019-2020 school year is over. The university’s President Wallace Loh stated that this decision was due to a Federal law. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requires that the Department of Defense stop funding the Chinese Flagship Program at U.S. colleges that have Confucius Institutes, unless they receive an exemption.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Maryland was established in 2004. It is the first one in the United States. Confucius Institutes have received many criticisms for spreading the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) ideology and political control throughout the hosting country.

The University of Missouri also announced that it will close its Confucius Institute in August.

Source: Epoch Times, January 18, 2020

Fuyao Glass America Received Awards from the Ohio Government

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the American branch of the Fuyao Group, the world’s largest automobile glass provider, headquartered in China, received awards from the Ohio government. Fuyao got a lot attention in the U.S. after Netflix released a documentary on the American Factory. Former U.S. first family Barack and Michelle Obama produced the documentary. It created a lot of buzz in the States due to its policies that were not pro-union. In the meantime, Fuyao caused major discussions in China and for a period time was considered a “traitor” to invest in U.S. manufacturing rather than in China’s.  Fuyao Chairman Cao Dewang made harsh comments about the Chinese investment environment not being business-friendly.  He also stated that the cost of doing business in the U.S. is lower than in China in all aspects except labor rates. Currently Fuyao has a US$900 million investment in five U.S. states, making glass locally in the United States and supplying glass to a quarter of the U.S. made vehicles. It has been profitable for the past three years.

Source: Sina, January 8, 2020

Xinhua: Chinese Students Should Stay Alert to Stigmatized U.S. Visa Policies

Xinhua recently published a commentary on the visa issues Chinese students face in the U.S. The commentary started with the statistics showing that the U.S. issued a total of 78,100 student visas in fiscal year 2018. This represented a decline of over 20 percent in three years. Of those visas issued, the number of Chinese students declined by 54 percent. In addition, the time it took for a Chinese student to obtain a U.S. student visa increased substantially.

American university officials typically blamed the current U.S. administration’s policies and attitude for the situation. Also, the increasingly high costs have remained another important challenge. The commentary strongly recommended that, for those planning to go to the U.S. for their education, it is very important to conduct careful research to avoid the majors in which it is harder to obtain a visa. It is also critical to select a domestic destination in case the visa application fails. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented that the unpopular U.S. policies have truly harmed the international image of the U.S., its reputation, and its national interests.

Source: Xinhua, January 2, 2020


China Firmly Opposes the U.S. Space Force

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that China firmly opposes the newly founded U.S. Space Force. After U.S. President Donald Trump signed the military spending bill into law, the U.S. military officially established a new branch – The Space Force. Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang responded in a press conference, expressing “deep concerns” and “strong opposition.” Geng suggested that the United States took this step facing disagreement from the international community. The U.S. strategy of dominating outer space is really the militarization of space and is turning outer space into a war field. The move is directly against the common international belief of the peaceful use of outer space and it will destroy the global strategic balance, which is the foundation of world stability. It is a direct threat to peace and security. Geng called on all “major world powers” to take a “careful and responsible attitude” on this issue. President Trump said it was critical for the United States to have an advantage in space. Another Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson also mentioned that it has become urgent now to negotiate and establish international legal agreements on outer space arms control.

Source: Sina, December 25, 2019

Epoch Times: Ten CCP “Wolf-Style” Diplomatic Events That Backfired in 2019

Epoch Times listed ten diplomatic events in 2019 in which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tried to coerce the world but got slapped in the face in return.

  1. The NBA Incident: After the Houston Rockets Manager Daryl Morey’s words, “Fight For Freedom, Stand With Hong Kong” were posted on Twitter, Beijing blocked NBA and Rockets games in China. However, the U.S. media and politicians overwhelmingly criticized the CCP for trying to control Americans’ freedom of speech. The CCP quietly toned down its voice and restarted broadcasting certain NBA games.
  2. South Park: The South Park cartoon TV program is known for its dark humor. The 2nd episode of its 23rd season was called “Band in China” (meaning “banned in China”). It touched many CCP taboos including camps in Xinjiang, organ harvesting, quitting the CCP, self-censored media, and Hong Kong protests. Beijing banned this episode. South Park then issued a fake, sarcastic apology, “Like the N.B.A., we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts. We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn’t look just like Winnie the Pooh at all.”
  3. Hong Kong Protests: The CCP blamed U.S. diplomat Julie Eadeh for supporting Hong Kong protesters and exposed information about her husband and children in the newspaper in August. The U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus called the CCP a “thuggish regime.” The CCP also tried to prevent the U.S. from passing the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act,” but the U.S. Congress passed it with overwhelming support and President Trump signed it into law.
  4. Joshua Wong at the Italian Congress: The Italian Congress invited Joshua Wong, a student activist and Secretary-General of the pro-democracy party Demosistō, to give a speech at an online conference. The China’s Embassy in Italy claimed on Twitter that inviting him to the Italian politicians’ conference was an irresponsible act. Italian politicians and media uniformly criticized the CCP for interfering in their affairs.
  5. Huawei at Faroe Islands: In November, Feng Tie, China’s Ambassador to Denmark, threatened Bárður Nielsen, the Primary Minister of the Faroe Islands. He said that if they would not sign up Huawei with a 5G contract, they would have no chance of getting a free trade agreement from China. Many politicians from Denmark criticized the CCP and expressed that they would protect Denmark and its autonomous territory, the Faroe Islands.
  6. Prague’s Sister City: On October 7, the Czech Republic’s capital city of Prague decided to end its sister city relationship with Beijing because China requested it to acknowledge the “one China principle,” acknowledging only the Communist regime but not Taiwan. Beijing retaliated in several ways. It cancelled the Czech’s performance troupes’ tours. The Czech Republic criticized Beijing for interfering in its affairs.
  7. Huawei in Canada: On January 17, 2019, Lu Shaye, then China’s Ambassador to Canada, stated at a news conference that there would be “consequences” if the Canadian government prohibited Huawei from providing 5G network equipment to Canada. Ralph Goodale, the Canadian Minister of Public Safety responded that Canada would not yield to Beijing on national security issues.
  8. The “Potter King” Incident: Taiwan Internet Celebrity “Potter King” hosted a show with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and posted it on YouTube. Papitube, a media company in China, which signed “Potter King” for China’s market demanded that he remove the posting from YouTube since he called her “President.” “Potter King” answered that if he can’t call his President the “President” (because if the CCP’s rule), he’d rather not to make money from China. He said, “From the beginning, I have never kneeled down (to the CCP).”
  9. The Kong Linlin Incident: On September 30, China Central Television reporter Kong Linlin slapped a U.K. Conservative Party member at the party’s annual conference in Birmingham. After the incident, Beijing called Kong the victim who was “personally attacked.” On November 29, the Birmingham Court ruled that it was Kong who was guilty.
  10. The Michael Gui Award: Michael Gui is a Swedish citizen who lived in Hong Kong and published books opposing CCP leaders. Beijing arrested him 2015. In early November this year, the Swedish PEN announced it was awarding him the Tucholsky prize. Gui Congyou, China’s Ambassador, requested of Amanda Lind, the Swedish Culture and Democracy Minister, not attend the award ceremony, threatening that Beijing would take “counter measures” against Sweden and prohibit her from entering China. Mrs. Lind still attended the event. Stefan Lofven, the Swedish Prime Minister stated, “We are not going to give in to this type of threat. Never! We have freedom of expression in Sweden and that’s how it is, period.”

Source: Epoch Times, December 20, 2019

DW Chinese: China Performed Precise Blockage during Democratic Presidential Debate

Deutsche Welle Chinese Edition recently reported that the Chinese government performed a precise blockage of the online real-time streaming of the latest Television Debate of U.S. Democratic Party Presidential Candidates. At around 9:00 PM, the official online video streaming went “black-screen” in China, without warning. At that very moment, PBS moderator Judy Woodruff was asking Mayor Pete Buttigieg about whether boycotting 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics was the right response to China’s detaining Uighurs in Xinjiang, China. Mayor Buttigieg responded by accusing President Trump of not doing enough about China’s human rights records. The online streaming in China was blocked for about nine minutes, during which time the debate also focused on the Hong Kong movement, the South China Sea situation, and China’s military ambitions.

Source: DW Chinese, December 20, 2019